Red Bull Formula 1 advisor Helmut Marko believes Max Verstappen made a "positive step" over the winter that will result in a more patient and mature approach through the 2019 season.

Verstappen will step up as team leader at Red Bull for 2019 following Daniel Ricciardo's move to Renault, and will be looking to build on his run to P4 in last year's drivers' championship.

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A string of errors in the start of the 2018 season led to concerns about Verstappen's approach and mindset, but Marko is encouraged by the progress he has seen from the 21-year-old heading into the new campaign.

"He did already a very positive step with extra effort and concentration before testing. He saw it as a duty and now he understands that, which is very, very important," Marko told Sky Sports.

"We had some discussions about being patient, which is one thing he will show. He also understood that if he can’t win, it is important to take points and finish races, otherwise we won’t win the championship.

"He is mature enough, even if he is still very young, he is far more mature. He and the team go into the season with a lot of confidence."

Red Bull began a new partnership with engine supplier Honda at pre-season testing in Barcelona earlier this week, coming in line with B-team Toro Rosso, which has been powered by Honda since the start of 2018.

Marko was encouraged by the early signs shown by the Red Bull-Honda partnership, claiming it was the best pre-season so far for the teams.

"We have had a very good time and the engine is reliable. I would say we have never had such a good preparation for this season with both teams," said Marko.

"It is a new period. We don’t look back, we look forward. It is a very good relationship.

"The concern of course was about reliability, but so far that is not a problem at all.

"It is a new culture as well, but it fits well with out people."

 

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